There’s something to be said for salesmanship and there’s another thing to be said for honesty; no matter which camp one prefers, Poor Young Things offers a smile.
This is a perfectly named band and one listen of the song “Sign of the Times” lets the secret out of the bag as to why.
“There’s a war on the middle class and everybody’s insecure. But I don’t want to be like that and work my hands to dust,” sings frontman Matt Fratpietro.
Coming from Thunder Bay, Ontario, where most of the band still have girlfriends waiting in the wings, the young musicians can stake an honest claim to this aversion to work. Once a forestry and factory town, Thunder Bay is fast becoming an intellectual hub as well with schools like Lakehead University and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
That’s a lot of work on either side of the fence for a kid who just wants to rock; but then, Poor Young Things aren’t exactly underachievers either. The band has already garnered a Sirius XIM Emerging Artist of the Year nomination.
Their debut album, The Heart. The Head. The End., showcases some classic-style rock anthems, racy guitar riffs and the kind of blustery energy any five young guys on a warpath to get away from the sleepy, small-town working class life might possess.
“I feel like this album is a snapshot of a 27-year-old’s life in this exact situation, the touring and the stories that go along with that, relationship-wise and otherwise,” said Fratpietro.
Now several years into the rock band thing, though only just releasing their first full-length album, their sound is commanding enough to secure Jon Drew, producer for Tokyo Police Club and the Arkells, and simple enough to seem accessible to anyone who likes a good blue-collar rocker.
Spinning on a fearless poor young thing, top-of-the-world attitude, has done them no harm and they know it.
“We first signed with Bumstead (Productions) and one of the producers asked us who we like the sound of and we really like the Arkells’s first album,” explained singer Matt Fratpietro. The Arkells are on the same label.
While in Kingston, playing at the Horseshoe Tavern, directly in front of the famous Bathouse Studios the Arkells call home, Drew came down to listen to their sound.
“So then we paid him exorbitant sums of money to produce our album,” said Fratpietro, in a characteristically flippant, if not lightheartedly obnoxious, way.
And yet, the result is something one doesn’t hear much of these days.
With a relaxed production style, little frills and almost no gimmicks, Poor Young Things are out touring the country showing Canadian kids what it means to rock post-Springsteen.
Now two years into a life based out of Toronto, they’ve also got a list of dreams to accomplish that make the crazed confidence of their lead singer seem aptly representative of their mindset.
Given their druthers, they would enjoy playing a concert with Gord Downie, of the Tragically Hip. They also figure American record producer Jack Douglas—who engineered John Lennon’s Imagine album and has a string of artist’s work on his name including Aerosmith, Patti Smith, Blue Oyster Cult, Alice Cooper—would make a fine producer.
For now, suffice to say, they’re also probably just hoping Poor Young Things remains a moniker and nothing more.
This will be the third time Poor Young Things plays Doc Willoughby’s Pub; tour stop June 14.